A Little History:
Our story begins in Pocatello, Idaho, circa 1972, when the lovely Debby Christensen agreed to a first, though fateful date with admirer, David Croshaw. Long story-short, he bade her follow him, and they went arm-in-arm to the Logan, Utah temple for establishment of an eternal family unit, Generation 1, on May 23 1973.

From their first blissful summer in Salt Lake City, educational pursuits took them to Provo/Orem, Utah, birthplace of Leslie and Rebecca, and to San Francisco/Oakland California, birthplace of Colin and Matt. Then, for establishment of livelihood, expansion of the tribe with Abby and Dana, and for raising/unifying of Generation 2, it was back to the roots in Pocatello for a rewarding sojourn.

In time, driven by a raging, but commonly shared sense of adventure and independence, one-by-one, Generation 2 escaped the homeland to distant regions of the country and the world, each ultimately developing their own tribal expansions by pairing with worthy mates and initiating Generation 3.

Now sensing fulfillment of their purpose in Pocatello, Generation 1 has also left those roots and transplanted to Cascade Idaho, from which base, they anticipate more abundant contact with The Posterity, Generations 2 and 3, in the future. That contact however, awaits fulfillment of a call to LDS missionary service in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, wherein they hope to help the state of the world by sharing the love of Jesus Christ.

So now, including Generation 0 (Grandma and Grandpa Christensen) home base includes Yuma, Arizona, Pocatello, Idaho, Cascade, Idaho, Vancouver, BC, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Spokane, Washington, Boise, Idaho, Los Angeles, California, back to Boise, Idaho, and on and on (Generation 3+) to infinity.

Our Mission Statement:
This is the blog of our eternal family unit. Initiated years ago, it served well as a journal, but even more so, as an archive of our personal interaction. It was a gathering place, a confabulation instrument, a unifying force for four generations of widely dispersed and progressively prolific posterity, and their valued associates. Though it served these purposes well for many years, it eventually took a back seat to new-kids-on-the-block, Facebook, and Instagram, and was sadly forgotten.

We now move to resurrect this blog with an added functional purpose of archiving the missionary experiences of Generation 1, of their movements and activities as they participate with The Gathering of Israel in the land northward. In so doing, we hope that via their own comments and posts, this blog will again serve to gather and unify the posterity and their friends.

As in the past, that the young and vibrant may know the old and tired, that enduring bonds may be fostered and maintained, that experience and encouragement may be openly shared, that posterity may embrace truth, and that hearts may be knit together, we must resist detachment despite our geographic divergence. We shall do so here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

check it out

check out my blog its www.valligirlvalerie.blogspot.com it has lots of kool stuff and comment my bloggythinggy

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's Most Important (Part III)

On Crystals blog I saw a link to a website which can take a document and make the most commonly used words and make them largest. On her's she used the Proclamation on the Family. As much as I love this proclamation I was kind of sad to see that Christ was not one of the largest words. So I decided to try "The Living Christ". Needless to say I was happier with the results.

So here they are:

title="Wordle: The Living Christ"> src="http://wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/94193/The_Living_Christ"
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd"

Also here is the same program with my blog:

title="Wordle: mattcroshaw"> src="http://wordle.net/thumb/wrdl/94209/mattcroshaw"
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd"

Follow-up on Dana's last thought

Thank you again, Dana, for your last entry about Mosiah 4:24-25. I got to re-use it in a conversation I had with one of my best friends, Lauren, today. She was fretting about an issue she was having, and since I'd been thinking about this scripture recently, I saw a direct application. So I shared it with her. I love every excuse I have to share Mormon doctrine with her, especially when she responds in a non-confrontational manner like today. She said, "That's a great quote! I'd love to know the reference!" I told her I could find it, but it was in the Book of Mormon. She said, "That's okay, it's still a great quote!" If you know anything of my past brushes with Mormonism with Lauren, this is a big deal. (In the end, I may have "accidentally" sent her the whole chapter. That King Benjamin just had so many good things to say, I just wanted her to see it all, and maybe let the Spirit teach her a little, too.)

I have a theory with most Christians who are have very negative feelings toward us and our quote-unquote extra book of holy writ. I think most of them have never read any portion of the Book of Mormon at all. They are well-versed with the classic Mormon myths, but not so much the scripture. I gave Lauren a Book of Mormon almost two years ago, not expecting her to read it at all. My goal ever since has been to show her, at every opportunity, how the book actually has a thing or two to say that she may like to hear and agree with. Each time she agrees, it feels like a small victory. Although I don't think she'll be baptized during this phase of our lives, that's what faith is about - having the patience to not give up, even when you can't see any progress.

P.S. My boss officially knows I'm leaving in 3 weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Change is in the air

Hi family, you thought you'd heard the last of my big updates for awhile. Well...nope!

No, I'm not getting married.

I just wanted to let you all know that I decided that in a month I'm going to quit my job and go to school full-time. While I've been sensing that it's time for some changes, this is entirely unexpected and huge for me. (Maybe not so unexpected for some of you, but I definitely didn't see it coming.) It is the end result of lots of pondering, praying, endless discussions with roommates, co-workers, family, college admissions advisor, Justin, and a blessing from the Home Teacher. After all that, I'm jumping in with both feet and I'm totally excited, albeit just a teensy bit wary of acquiring all that debt from tuition and having no job. Guess that's why the Prophet is always encouraging us to build up our savings. Thanks to that, I can rest much easier when it comes to the living expenses.

If you're curious about the details, I'll be enrolling in American University's Kogod Business School. I'm definitely not moving to be closer to campus because I just love my living situation so much and no WAY could I afford rent in DC. The only other detail I know is that orientation starts on August 19. Hopefully they'll be telling me more soon. :o)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give

Today in sacrament meeting we had a great speaker. I'm not sure if he was high council, I'm afraid I wasn't paying enough attention. But at the beginning of his talk he said how he noticed all of the parents having to take out the 5 & under kids. He said how he loved the principle King Benjamin taught in Mosiah. Chapter 4 verse 24 says, "...I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give." Verse 25, "And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless." Anyway, he said that he has noticed that so much in his church life. How he would be busy with meetings and wishing in his heart that he could be home with his family. He said the same thing applies. His family is blessed as if he were there, just like the poor who can't give to the poor are blessed if in their hearts they would give if they could. He applied it to young parents who wish they could pay attention all the time and get so much more out of church meetings and appreciate the sacrament. If they really feel that in their hearts then they will be blessed as if they could. It was just so nice, because some days I come home from church and think, "Did I learn anything today?" (Okay, who am I kidding, that is pretty much every Sunday.) And I've had the thought before that we're blessed even if we aren't able to listen. I just felt as he said it that it was true. That's one of the things I got out of church today.
Jason and I have new callings. I teach the 8 & 9 year olds in primary, and after teaching Sunbeams for 1 1/2 years I have to say that is the perfect age to teach. They're old enough to read and follow the lesson, but not old enough they realize they don't have to listen. They're such a fun class. Jason was called as a Cub Scout leader and the boys in my class are Cub Scout age. Funny how things work out.
Love you all, hope you had a nice weekend.

Count your blessings!

hi everyone,

where has this summer gone? lots of good things have happened in our family in the last year (2008) might i elaborate on a few: all are alive and well. lilia, cole, asher and little vanderlouw, becky and ray have moved back to the west, ray got a new job, matt got a new job, abby returned home safely, colin got a residency, jason got a new job, we live in a free country, grandma and grandpa christensen are still around, we have the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, dad and i got to go to Israel, and have our testimonies of the Savior strengthened in a magnificent way, dana and jason safely moved to san antonio, alex and leslie have completed part uno of the visa process, we get to study the book of mormon this year, we have a new prophet, we have made it through some difficult challenges, we love each other, we are all sealed together--thank you crystal and alex, two new temples in idaho, safe travels--and our family has really put in the miles, on the road and in the air, prayers are answered, more prayers still up there, but we know they will eventually be answered, temples, peace. we can be together forever. add any that you can think of. i love you all. xoxoxo

Friday, July 18, 2008

Not quite the Elf at Christmas

OH, and don't get too PG-13 about the alternative use of the democrat mascot term- after all, one is mentioned in the Old Testament as a particularly loquacious one.

Send a JibJab Sendables® eCard Today!

Did ya see me?! Huh, huh?!

I feel like a celebrity. In a real non-celebrity sense.

One of my favorite blogs posted something I sent them! 
"Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

Yes, I realize this pins me as a grammar/punctuation nazi. If that's the case, so be it. To me, this site is truly delightful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What's all the fuss about?

Since we will be here in Cleveland for a while, we decided to see what this home ownership thing is all about. As soon as we found out, we started looking. Luckily there are about 1 million houses for sale on our block alone. Anyway, we found a house we really liked the first day we went out looking. All the houses around here are oldish, but this one has had some work done. The people we are buying it from moved out because they had triplets. I guess it has been on the market for a while and they have dropped the price $22K. We are supposed to close on the 31st, which is 2 weeks after we agreed on the price. It has carpet and a dry basement. No, you don't understand, it has carpet and a dry basement. That's pretty rare around here. Anyways, here's a picture of part of the back yard.

The main floor is carpeted, has a brand new kitchen and paint job. I guess they valued TV because they enclosed the screened in porch and turned it into a TV room with surround sound hookups.

How bout the wood paneling in the basement? I think we should keep it, what do you think?

Here's the kitchen.
The bathroom is obviously the best decorated room in the house with the 2 tone vomit color scheme. Obviously the first remodel job on the list.

So that's it. We close in just under 2 weeks, 2 weeks before the baby is born. Baby blessing probably in October for any takers. Dad, Jason, Ray, Alex Matt, I need help putting up a fence.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Home safe and jet-lagged

Hi family.

I just wanted to tell you about the last part of my trip.

I really loved Cambodia. The next day we were there, we returned to Angkor Wat to look at some more buildings, but this time on bikes. Nice to see everything at a little slower of a pace, and it felt really good to be doing something so active. We also took a little trip to see the monastery that had been built where the killing fields were. Princess and I were talking on the way there about how it was recent enough that most of the people we were seeing had probably been here for it all - even our tuk tuk driver friend. So when we got there, we asked him. He told us that yes, he had been here. And he remembered exactly how long it had lasted - 3 years, 8 months, 20 days. He'd gotten sent to work in a labor camp, all day, every day. He was always hungry and always tired, and in the end, he ended up moving to Thailand until a peace treaty was signed in 1992. They killed his father, too. It made the book we were reading much more real. It was very sobering. I'm so glad to have read that book before we got there.

The next day was Vietnam. We were staying in the backpacker district in Hanoi, which ended up being a little slummy, although our guesthouse was one of the nicest we've had. My strongest memory of Hanoi is of the scooters. I'll try to explain. I've been to a few countries and seen some pretty insane driving. But Hanoi is in a league all of its own. It is the most organized chaos on the road I have ever seen. There are a few cars, but there are mostly scooters. Some people may call it bad driving, but I think it requires only the highest level of defensive driving. I only wish I could capture for you the intricate ways everyone weaves in and out of each other on the roads, when they pass each other, when they enter/exit roundabouts. And the honking! It's like a form of constant communication! It's like they're honking just to let each other know they're there. If someone is passing someone else on the road, they'll honk before they get there, and then again as they're passing. It is such a common occurrence that people are never startled by honks, even the ones on bikes. When people are stopped at a light, there will be 5-6 lined up next to each other in one lane, waiting for the light to change. Crossing the street is next to impossible, even if it's just a small side street. And yet, I never once saw a single accident.

We took a day trip to see Ha Long Bay, which is in the standing to become one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. There are something like 1900 small rock-cliff islands in this bay. It really is breathtaking. The only way you can really get on a boat to explore Ha Long Bay is with a tour group, which makes the experience feel a little too structured and artificial, but we tried to make the most of it. We did get a chance to jump into a kayak and explore on our own around a few caves. We also got to wander through a cave that reminded me of Luray Caverns in Virginia. I must say, even though we had to take the structured route, I'm definitely glad I got to see it.

After that, we were supposed to go back to Hanoi and get on a plane to come back to America. (In order to keep from again being detained in China, we had to re-do the end of our trip, which cut off the trip to Ho Chi Minh, but bought us some time in Seoul. I was actually pretty excited about that.) Due to some misinformation from Delta, we didn't get on the flight. But through the process of figuring out what we had to do, we made friends with the staff of Korean Airlines, and to make a long story short, we ended up spending the night at the Korean Airlines station manager's house. He also fed us ("company tab!") and let us ride the employee shuttle to and from the airport. He definitely went above and beyond the required amount to accommodate us, and we were grateful. To top it off, when we returned the next night, we got to hang out in the Business Class Lounge until it was time to board the flight.

This gave me the opportunity to make another, more positive, strong memory of Hanoi: the lakes. Hanoi is full of lakes, and each one is surrounded by a beautiful park. On our unintentional second day there, we spent a few hours just coasting in a paddleboat on one of the lakes, drafting our elaborate complaint letter to Delta. It was the picture of contentment. Definitely my favorite part of Hanoi.

The trip home was basically played by ear. When we got to South Korea, we knew we either had 3 hours to spend there (if we made it on a standby flight that was overbooked), or a day and a half (if we didn't). I was sort of hoping for the extended stay so I could explore the country just a little, but at the same time, I was excited to get home. When we got there, I was fully loopy and out of it. I've had a cold for the past few days, and I'd taken some NyQuil to make it through our red-eye out of Hanoi, but I didn't sleep at all. We made it to the ticket counter to ask about the standby flight, then instead of leaving the airport and actually seeing a little of the country before our potential early departure, I dragged myself to the nearest set of hard seats and crashed. Well, we made that flight, which was sort of bittersweet. It just means I'll have to go back another time.

But now I'm home! Here is the final pictorial edition of our ultimate adventures. :o)

Monday, July 7, 2008

tension ME LOL

I have a blog you should go there it is at valligirlvalerie.blogspot.com there are alot of really cool things on there also i use to say tention me when i wanted attention so i thought i whould put it on here because it's funny

Me, a princess- see. I know this is true.

The little princess
Build your own Blingee

check my moms blog for fier work pictures.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I love Cambodian curry!!!

Possibly even more than Thai curry, and I didn't know that was possible! It's just delightful! That being said, I'm going to try to be as brief as I can, while still giving everyone a decent update.

The rest of our time in Phuket was most enjoyable. We took a trip out to Phi Phi island (where, as everyone loves to note, "The Beach" was filmed, starring Leonardo Dicaprio. I get it. I didn't see it. Move on.) and we hiked to the highest point and got a glimpse of the best view of the isthmus that connects the two main parts of the island. The next day we went to the zoo and saw a lot of things that wouldn't happen in America. All the animals were behind chain-link fences. There was a crocodile show and the dude put his head in a croc's mouth, we got our pics taken with a tiger, and an elephant almost sat on Princess.

Next stop was Chiang Mai. I'm a big fan. We spent the first two days on a crazy trek adventure outside of the city that included hiking about 18K over some mountains and through some rice paddies and under a waterfall, sleeping in a bamboo hut under mosquito nets, taking a ride on some elephants, and going down a river on a bamboo raft. We went with a few other people from the UK/Australia, all great people. They were also fascinated by how "short" American vacations are. Each of them was out for at least 4 months.

Next day we found a local massage therapist who gave us a crash course in arm and back massage. (It was supposed to be a week-long course but we talked her down to three hours. Yay for capitalism!) We also went to a Buddhist university and spent awhile helping the monks practice their English. We were basically just drilling them about Buddhism because we knew nothing about it. It was fascinating! There are a lot of truths to their philosophy. Too bad about that whole part where they don't believe in God. We went to a cultural dinner thing that night and we got to watch some traditional Thai dances, and at one point they got me up on the stage dancing with them. :o)

This is all aside from the massages. We've gotten a few. Never paid more than $9. I'm a fan of the Thai style, but I think Swedish is favorite. In my humble opinion. We also took out our braids because someone informed us that it really damages your hair - especially if you're white because your hair isn't as strong. That's great. It was fun while it lasted. I'm pretty sure my hair is thinner now.

Now we're in Cambodia. Throughout our time here, we've been reading this book, "First They Killed my Father," about the regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge and what happened to the people of Cambodia during that time. We just finished it on the flight over here and it has added a lot of depth to this leg of the trip. I don't think I'd make it a book club book, but it was pretty fascinating and very informative. Plus, it is told from the perspective of a 5-year-old, so it's free of propaganda. But I digress. Today we went to see Angkor Wat and WOW!! I usually get bored pretty fast with historical landmarks (although, yes, this is one of the 7 man-made wonders of the world), but we were having a great time exploring! Basically, it's a huge Hindu temple. The stone carvings are plentiful and intricate. There is a figure of one of their gods that appears over 1800 times, and is doing something different in each one. Now the place is also full of stone Buddhas and other reminders that Cambodia is predominantly Buddhist.

We tried to go to church today because there is a Siem Reap branch that is supposedly only a couple miles away. Well...streets don't really have names here off the main road - they're just parts of different villages and if you don't live there (and often even if you do), navigating is impossible. Especially since this branch was probably just at someone's house instead of in an actual church, so it wasn't so easy to find. We made our tuk-tuk guy drive around for an hour and we asked half a dozen people for assistance and got different answers every time. No luck. It was a valiant attempt and we both contented ourselves that we were there in spirit.

Now here are some random interesting things I've noticed:

*People drive in the right side of the car and on the left side of the road in Thailand. Cambodia is American-style. Also, cars here don't have heating - only air conditioning.
*American music is prevalent, but they're a little behind. I've heard The Cranberries' "Zombie" five times.
*I've seen people wearing surgical masks outside everywhere we've gone. Bad air, I guess?
*It's offensive in Thailand to let the soles of your feet show.
*It took six men to get my Cambodian visa. One to staple my pic to the application, one to take my money, one to put the visa in my passport, one to stamp it, one to sign it, and one to hand it to me. There's efficiency for you.
*Cambodia accepts American dollars everywhere, and more often than not the dollar price is listed instead of the Cambodian money (riel), which is weird.

We uploaded more pics to the same album as last time, so you've already seen the beginning of this, but keep watching to see the latest at the end!